بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The Story of the Murdered Israeli Man and the Cow
An Israeli man had been killed and there was no information about the murderer. While the people were arguing Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent a command to Musa ‘alayhi salaam to instruct his people to slaughter a cow. The slaughtering of the cow was a mean for discovering the identity of the murderer.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded ‘Ubaydah As-Salmani saying, “There was a man from among the Children of Israel who was impotent. He had substantial wealth, and only a nephew who would inherit from him. So his nephew killed him and moved his body at night, placing it at the doorstep of a certain man. The next morning, the nephew cried out for revenge, and the people took up their weapons and almost fought each other. The wise men among them said, ‘Why would you kill each other, while the Messenger of Allah is still among you?’ So they went to Musa and mentioned the matter to him and Musa (‘alayhi salaam) said, ‘Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow.’”
The Children of Israel asked if he was making fun of them. Prophet Musa replied that was not of the ignorant or the foolish. They disputed and asked unnecessary questions, hoping that by doing so perhaps they would no more be required to carry out the command. But no! Because of their asking unnecessary questions the matter was made more difficult for them.
‘Ubaydah As-Salmani said, “Had they not disputed, it would have been sufficient for them to slaughter any cow. However, they disputed, and the matter was made more difficult for them, until they ended up looking for the specific cow that they were later ordered to slaughter. They found the designated cow only with a man who owned that cow. He said, ‘By Allah! I will only sell it for its skin’s fill of gold.’ So they paid the cow’s fill of its skin in gold, slaughtered it and touched the dead man with a part of it. He stood up, and they asked him, ‘Who killed you?’ He said, ‘That man,’ and pointed to his nephew. He died again, and his nephew was not allowed to inherit him. Thereafter, whoever committed murder for the purpose of gaining inheritance was not allowed to inherit.” And Allah knows best.
The Stubbornness of the Jews
The Children of Israel asked too many questions from their messengers. When they were commanded to do something they would not carry out the command right away, rather they asked unnecessary questions. Because of their stubbornness, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made the tasks difficult for them. Had they slaughtered any cow, it would have been sufficient for them.
Their stubbornness also led them to disobey or misbehave with the Prophets of Allah. When Musa ‘alayhi salaam conveyed them the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, they asked if he was making fun of them. Prophets and Messengers of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala do not make fun of their people. Then why did the Children of Israel say such a thing? It is because they had lived under the slavery of the Egyptians who worshiped idols. One of their idols was cow. Living with the Egyptians, the reverence of the cows had seeped into the hearts of the Children of Israel. Therefore, they could not accept slaughtering something that they revered.
■ Become serious in the study of Deen. It is not play and amusement. True believers are those who hear a command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and humbly submit. They do not ask: Why Allah? Why should I do it? Accepting hijab, leaving haram jobs and relationships, spending in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala becomes easy for them.
■ A Da’ee (caller to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and His religion) must be a serious and mature person. His responsibility is to educate people. He should not make fun of, taunt or criticize the people coming to his gatherings. People from all backgrounds attend Islamic lectures and gatherings, the Da’ee should not look at how they are dressed, how they talk, the questions they ask, etc. He should be patient, forgiving and a good listener. Parents too should be careful about how they speak to their children. Sometimes parents shatter the confidence by laughing at or criticizing the questions that the children ask. Understand your role as an adult and a leader.
■ Those who laugh at others, judge or criticize others, especially those who are lesser in knowledge or status, are actually foolish and ignorant themselves. A knowledgeable person fears Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, has taqwa and wishes well for all people.
Ayah 68 – Asking Unnecessary Questions
The Children of Israel started asking unnecessary questions hoping that they will not be asked to do what they were being told. It is similar to someone asking us for water and we ask, “Do you want it in a glass or a jug?” The person answers. Then we ask, “Do you want it in metal glass or China glass?” Then we ask, “Do you want it hot or cold?” The person only asked for water, why ask so many questions?
Also notice how the Children of Israel addressed Musa ‘alayhi salaam. Each time they asked a question, they said, “Call upon your Lord…” [رَبَّكَ] they didn’t even acknowledge Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as their Lord.
And this is how many people handle the du’as. They ask others to make du’as for them claiming that they are too sinful to have their du’as answered or just out of negligence because they do not offer Salah. Who could be lazier than a person who cannot even make du’a for himself?
Our Teacher’s Note:
Learn to make d’ua for yourself because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala loves to hear His servant invoke Him. When you learn how to make d’ua and build a regular relationship with Him, you no longer have to ask people to pray for you. People just look at you or meet you and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala inspires them to make du’a for you.
Because, by praying to Him you have shown you love Him. And when a servant loves the Creator, not only does He love you back, but He inspires the creation to love you too.
The Jews’ way: Rabbaka [رَبَّكَ] “Your Lord…”
The Muslims’ way: Rabbana [رَبَّنَا] “Our Lord…”
The Children of Israel said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is,” meaning make its description clear to us. The word yubayyin [يُبَيِّن] is from the root ba-ya-noon. Bayyan means ‘to explicitly tell something, to make something apparent, plain or clear’.
Musa ‘alayhi salaam replied that it should be neither too old nor too young rather it should be in between the two stages meaning at an age when it is the strongest and fittest. Right after this Musa ‘alayhi salaam says, “…so do what you are commanded,” meaning stop asking unnecessary questions and honor the command.
■ Talking too much hinders one from taking action. Sometimes we share our plans with others and get so exhausted talking that we no more have the energy to actually do it. The time that could have been spent on the project has been wasted in talking. Prioritize your life. Do what’s more important, first.
■ Talking too much also deprives us of khushu’ in the prayer. The conversations in our head keep distracting us. Talking too much also hardens hearts. Sometimes we utter statements that we regret later. We must learn to talk less and engage our tongues more in the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. A person must speak only when spoken to and say that which is true and beneficial.
Four Situations when it is prohibited to talk:
1. During Prayer.
2. While listening to the Qur’an recitation (see Surah Al-A’raf 204).
3. During the call to the prayer (Athan). We should be focusing on what the mauzzin is saying and repeat after him.
4. Gatherings of knowledge (esp. during Friday Khutbah).
These are the occasions when there is more chance of our supplications to be accepted. Therefore, we must sit quietly and be really focused while being connected to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in our hearts.
Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.
Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.
In 1933, W. Mahler found that if a person announced the solution to a problem, and was acknowledged by others, it was now in the brain as a ‘social reality’, even if the solution hadn’t actually been achieved.
NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer has been studying this since his 1982 book “Symbolic Self-Completion” – and recently published results of new tests in a research article, “When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?”
Four different tests of 63 people found that those who kept their intentions private were more likely to achieve them than those who made them public and were acknowledged by others.
Once you’ve told people of your intentions, it gives you a ‘premature sense of completeness.’
You have ‘identity symbols’ in your brain that make your self-image. Since both actions and talk create symbols in your brain, talking satisfies the brain enough that it ‘neglects the pursuit of further symbols.’
It may seem unnatural to keep your intentions and plans private, but try it.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 67-68